Norma Jeane Mortenson aka Marilyn Monroe was the sexual icon of her time, and ours. Marilyn Monroe has been known as the sexiest woman ever to live and even described as “true beauty”.  As the story of her discovery goes, she was spotted by a photographer while working in a factory during WWII and soon became a high ranked model and actress. From her humble beginnings as a brunette to her award-winning movies as a blonde bombshell, she became one of the biggest popular culture icons of all time.  Her influences, so big, have had an effect on many more pop culture icons like Andy Warhol, Madonna, Lindsey Lohan, Lady Gaga and countless others.

Not only has Marilyn Monroe influenced people, she has also created trends through discourse.  From her famous Chanel No. 5 line, “What do I wear to bed? Well, Chanel No. 5, of course”, to her flowing white halter dress over a subway grate, her influences can be seen nearly everywhere today. The mass circulation of her styles, quotes and attitude creates an entire trend of Marilyn Monroe. People everywhere wear similar styles and even dress up as Marilyn for not only photo shoots and movies, like Lindsey Lohan, Scarlet Johansson, and Michelle Williams, but people try to embody the trend that is Marilyn Monroe with simple things like a hair cut, dye and style.  The platinum curls and bright red lipstick is a Monroe trademark and will not soon be forgotten.

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Marilyn is the ultimate woman in our society and that has not changed in the last 60 years.  She’s curvy, beautiful, and bubbly.  Everything a woman should be in America.   Scarlet Johansson compares herself to Marilyn in Elle magazine when she says,”I’m kind of a signature blond, I’m curvy, I’ve embraced my femininity and my sexuality.” She also had her own successful career in which she often chose over relationships, a strong, individualistic characteristic valued by American society.   However, she was often mischievous.  Often using sexual innuendos which, along with her looks, helped her climb to the iconic level she still holds. For example:

“It’s not true that I had nothing on. I had the radio on”

 “Sex nature and I believe going along with nature.”

                                                                                                 -Marilyn Monroe

There is no doubt that Marilyn Monroe has an influence on gender in women in a similar way that Barbie has an influence on gender in young girls.  In fact, Barbie and Marilyn have many things in common.  For example, after her discovery, her modeling career took off only after her hair was colored blonde, of course.  She also was rarely caught without high heels, much like Barbie.

“I don’t know who invented high heels, but all women owe him a lot.”

                                                                                                  -Marilyn Monroe

We see how culture has reflected its ideals and values through Barbie as well as Marilyn Monroe.  Barbie and Marilyn were both created through discourse to represent the values and ideals of beauty in American through the blonde hair, make-up and attire.

After an all too short life-time, Marilyn Monroe tragically died in 1962.  Although Monroe is no longer physically with us today, her handprints in pop culture and on the sidewalk in Hollywood will forever remain.


-Brittany Polacek